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Local graduate, wife and daughter killed in car crash

By staff and wire reports • Updated Apr 1, 2017 at 1:06 AM

A North Carolina man accused of causing an accident that killed three family members and injured three others in Ohio’s Jerusalem Township has pleaded not guilty in Oregon Municipal Court.

The victims are Willard High School graduate and Oregon resident Robin Shellhammer, 60, his wife, Barbara Shellhammer, 56, and their daughter, Whitney Meinke, 33, of Curtice. (NOTE: Their obituaries appear at the end of this story.)

Alejandro Ramirez-Jaramillo, 26, of Asheboro, N.C., was charged with three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, all second-degree felonies. He was arrested following Sunday’s fatal crash on North Cousino Road and remains in the Lucas County jail.

Ramirez-Jaramillo is also being held on an immigration detainer issued by the U.S. Border Patrol.

The Shellhammers and Meinke died Sunday from injuries they suffered in the crash.

Ramirez-Jaramillo was driving a van north on Cousino Road when he failed to stop at a stop sign at Seaman Road and collided with an eastbound car being driven by Robin Shellhammer.

Javier Cervera, 38, of Greensboro, N.C., and Pedro Martinez, unknown age and residence, were also in the van. All three people in the van were taken to Mercy Health St. Charles Hospital.

All three occupants in the van were wearing seat belts, as was Barbara Shellhammer. Robin Shellhammer and Meinke were not wearing seatbelts.

“Robin was in theatre productions all through high school,” said local resident Bonnie Albright, a classmate of Shellhammer at Willard High. “The one I remember best was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. He was Joseph and I was the narrator. His father "Skip" Shellhammer worked for the Willard Times-Junction and took a photo of the production. His mom gave it to me.

“We had a class reunion a couple years ago and were cleaning up at end of the evening,” Albright continued. “He picked up his wife's handbag and slung it over his shoulder. I kidded him about having a man bag. Others tried to convince him to stay for all of Labor Day weekend but he said he had things to do with his kids and grandkids. I believe his actions then illustrated he was a great guy and loving husband, father and grandfather.”

Barbara Shellhammer was the director of Nourish Early Learning, a daycare on Navarre Avenue, Oregon.

Their daughter, Meinke, was a third grade teacher at R.C. Waters Elementary School in Oak Harbor. She leaves behind her husband and two children.

 

During a video arraignment Monday, Judge Jeffery Keller ordered bond be continued at $100,000 for each of three counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, with no 10 percent. Bond was set prior to Monday’s hearing.

City Prosecutor Melissa Purpura recommended bond be continued at the set amount because he considers Ramirez-Jaramillo to be a flight risk.

Ramirez-Jaramillo said he resides in North Carolina and works in construction.

His attorney, Lara Rump, requested a “reasonable cash bond.”

An interpreter was in court as Mr. Ramirez-Jaramillo does not speak English.

A preliminary hearing was set for April 6.

It was the second fatal crash in the past week in Jerusalem Township. Three men died in a single-car crash March 19.

* * *

Obituary for Robin and Barbara Shellhammer and Whitney Shellhammer-Meinke

Robin and Barbara Shellhammer along with their daughter, Whitney Meinke passed away unexpectedly, Sunday, March 26, 2017 from injuries sustained in an auto accident.

Robin, 60, was born in Willard, Ohio on December 14, 1956 to Lloyd and Joyce (Archer) Shellhammer. Barbara, 56, was born in Springfield, Illinois on October 30, 1960 to Edward and Dorothy (Hampton) Johansen. Robin and Barb were united in marriage on May 8, 1981. Robin was a mechanical designer for his entire career and spent nearly 27 years at SSOE in Toledo, Ohio. Barb was the founder of Nourish Early Learning in Oregon, Ohio. Barb had an immense passion for children and dedicated her entire life to their development and to making others’ lives better. Barb and Robin’s love of children was nowhere more apparent than when spending time with their own and their three grandchildren. They also enjoyed spending time with friends and family, who will all recognize and know of Robin’s sarcastic wit and endless list of house projects to complete, and of Barb’s uniquely kind heart and comforting presence.

Whitney, 33, was born in Oregon, Ohio to Robin and Barb on September 22, 1983. She was a graduate of Clay High School in 2002 and received her Bachelors of Education from Lourdes University. Whitney was a third grade teacher at R.C. Waters Elementary School in Oak Harbor, Ohio. On April 24, 2009, she married Luke Meinke, and together they have two sons, Frey and Finn. Known for her bright smile, infectious laugh and genuineness; every encounter with Whitney refreshed your spirit. Whitney had many friends and loved them deeply, though her greatest love she reserved for her two boys. Her summers off from school when she could spend every day with her boys, were days that she treasured the most.

Robin, Barb and Whitney were widely admired and adored. Their characteristic kindness, selflessness and sincerity gained the affection and trust of countless friends. To their children, Robin, Barb and Whitney were their whole world, and to their family and friends they were a world of comfort and joy.

Robin and Barb are survived by their children, Zachary Shellhammer, Miken (Tim) Oliver, Alexandra (Josh) Bernath; son-in-law, Luke Meinke; grandchildren, Frey, Finn and Harrison. Mother and mother-in-law, Dorothy “Dottie” Johansen; Robin’s siblings, Ric (Kathy), Doug, Scott (Kathy) Shellhammer; Barb’s siblings, Edward (Karen) Johansen, Kim (David) Ingwersen, Joy (Todd) Slaman, Karen (Tom) Willer, Don Johansen, Glenn Johansen. Robin and Barb were preceded in death by Robin’s parents, Barb’s father; sister-in-law, Angie Shellhammer.

Whitney is survived by her husband, Luke; and her sons, Frey and Finn; all three of them were the loves of her life. She is also survived by her siblings, Zachary, Miken, and Alexandra; mother-in-law, Becky Meinke; sister-in-law, Dana (Kevin) Shull; brother-in-law, Jed (Stephanie) Meinke. She was preceded in death by her father-in-law, Charles Meinke.

Visitation was held on Thursday March 30, at Eggleston Meinert & Pavley Funeral Home, Millbury Chapel, 1111 Woodville Road, Millbury, Ohio. Private funeral services were held on Friday March 31 at St. Peter Lutheran Church, Blackberry Corners. An evening remembrance vigil will be open to the public to attend on Friday, March 31 at 7:30 pm at Clay Memorial Stadium, Seaman Road, Oregon.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials for Robin, Barb and Whitney be made online to the Shellhammer/Meinke Memorial on Go Fund Me, which will be used for the education of Frey and Finn Meinke and for Nourish Early Learning. If you do not wish to give online, memorials can also be sent to the funeral home noting the Shellhammer/Meinke Memorial.

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: By Allison Reamer of The Blade, Toledo (TNS) contributed to this story.

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